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What St. Louis businesses need to know about riot and protest insurance

"Generally, policies cover what are called 'riots and civil commotion.' It's almost always included in insurance policies"
Credit: UPI
St. Louis firefighters survey the damage to a 7-11 convenience store, by days light, following a fire set by rioters during the night in St. Louis on June 1. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

ST. LOUIS — Some St. Louis businesses have suffered property damage from rioting, but there may be a sliver of good news, according to a St. Louis insurance expert.

Your insurance policy likely covers your losses.

Unlike government-imposed business interruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which usually are not covered by typical insurance policies, damage and losses caused by riots and fires are covered.

"Generally, policies cover what are called 'riots and civil commotion.' It's almost always included in insurance policies," said Bill Goddard, a principal and director of insurance consulting at Brown Smith Wallace in St. Louis.

That said, some claims are more readily covered than others, Goddard said.

For example, if your building is damaged or your business is interrupted, it's likely covered, he said. "It would surprise me if we found a policy that didn't cover it," he said. "The only issue is calculating damages."

But what if your building is not damaged but a business in the surrounding area is damaged, causing you to lose profits? "That's a little harder, but often your policy will cover for surrounding properties," Goddard said. "Often, the policy specifies a distance, say within a mile. It's likely you will have coverage for your business interruption."

How about if your business is forced to close early because of scheduled protests in the street and business districts? "Maybe. Most likely we can find coverage for all these events," Goddard said.

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